Three UK schoolgirls ‘travelling to Syria’

CCTV of the three girls
Police released CCTV footage of the three girls at Gatwick Airport

Police have made an appeal to three east London schoolgirls who have flown to Turkey, amid fears they are about to cross the border into Syria and join the Islamic State terrorist group.

Shamima Begum, 15, Kadiza Sultana, 16, and an unnamed 15-year-old, pupils at Bethnal Green Academy, flew from Gatwick on Tuesday, during half-term.

Commander Richard Walton said he feared they were “extremely vulnerable”.

The trio are friends with a fourth girl who travelled in December.

Cdr Walton said the teenagers’ families were “devastated” but there was a “good chance” the girls were still in Turkey.

He hoped a police appeal, via social media, would persuade them not to enter Syria.

They were last seen at their homes on Tuesday morning when they gave their families “plausible reasons” to be out for the day, police said.

The girls boarded a Turkish Airlines flight, which landed in Turkey on Tuesday evening.

The third girl is not being named at the request of her family.

Shamima is possibly travelling under the name of Aklima Begum, police said.

Cdr Walton said he hoped the trio would “hear our concerns for their safety and have the courage to return now, back to their families who are so worried about them.”

He said the force was becoming “increasingly concerned” about a growing trend of young girls showing an interest or intent in joining Islamic State.

Shamima and the unnamed 15-year-old were reported missing by their families on Tuesday evening, while Kadiza was reported missing on Wednesday morning.

Kadiza Sultana, 16, who is believed to be travelling to Syria
Kadiza Sultana, aged 16, is the oldest of the trio, who are all in the same school year
Shamima Begum, 15, who is believed to be travelling to Syria
Shamima Begum, 15, could be travelling under the name of Aklima Begum, police said.

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